The burden of free and cheap parking on India’s cities

I was just reading this piece on how so called Parking sharks charge Rs 10 for parking 2-wheelers in a Bangalore locality. Its is higher than. Rs 5 the government has mandated:

Apologies for knocking the wind out of you but every time you visit Jayanagar 4th Block Shopping Complex and pay Rs 10 for parking your two-wheeler or Rs 30 for your car, you are being gypped.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let us understand the issue at hand.

The BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahana­gara Palike) has invited fresh bids – last date is January 17 — to award the parking maintenance contract at Jayanagar shopping complex. This is the fourth time in eight years that the BBMP is inviting the tender. Sources in the know say the BBMP deliberately delays awarding the tender or comes up with some excuse not to do so. This is because certain BBMP officials get a cut for letting the parking sharks have a free swim in the area.

Here’s how it works: Unauthorised parking attendants collect Rs 10 from each two-wheeler at the complex, which has parking facility on four sides apart from the free parking on the road. At least 1,000 two-wheelers and 15-20 cars can be parked near Canara Bank, Modern Parking, Mysore Bank and the free parking slots. Considering that each slot is rotated between four and five two-wheelers, that’s a cool Rs 50,000 (approx.) per day that the parking sharks make. That translates into around Rs 15 lakh per month. Now hold that thought for a minute.

A BBMP insider told Bangalore Mirror that to make it look official, the parking mafia pays a token amount of Rs 900 (Rs 450 each for two sites) per day to BBMP, which goes into the Palike’s bank account. That’s Rs 27,000 per month. Compare that with the Rs 15 lakh that the unauthorized parking attendants are collecting and you’ll get the dirty picture.

Keeping this BBMP fee aside, the charges have been kept artificially low and will only lead to overcrowding. Which is eventually the case. There is no disincentive whatsoever to try and keep your vehicles at home.

This piece by IDFC researchers argues why keeping these parking spaces free only creates more problems..

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